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Half Nelson [2006] [DVD]

Ryan Gosling , Shareeka Epps , Ryan Fleck    Suitable for 15 years and over   DVD
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
Price: 5.85 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Product details

  • Actors: Ryan Gosling, Shareeka Epps, Anthony Mackie, Tina Holmes, Nicole Vicius
  • Directors: Ryan Fleck
  • Format: PAL, Dolby, Anamorphic, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: Axiom Films
  • DVD Release Date: 24 Sep 2007
  • Run Time: 107 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000MX7YFY
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 7,216 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)



Sometimes people are attracted to each other because of their differences. When there's a nebulous attraction between a teacher and a young teenage child--as in the superb Half Nelson--the relationship has all the makings of confused disaster. Though there are a few uncomfortable moments when it's not obvious whether Dan (Ryan Gosling) and Drey (Shareeka Epps) might cross the line, the attraction between the pair is culled less from sexual tension than desperation. Dan is an idealistic history teacher in an inner-city school. Drey is one of his brightest students.

For both, drugs represent something that may help them escape their worlds. He takes drugs to dull his dissatisfaction with himself. She views drugs as a possible way to better her life, even though she knows her brother's foray into that trade landed him in jail. Bleakly filmed and well told, Half Nelson soars because of the immaculate acting by Gosling and Epps. With his impish smile, Gosling provides a character that is at once disarming, alluring, and pitiful. As the young girl who's already seen too much hardship in her life, Epps plays her part with just the right amount of hardened raw emotion. While the ambiguous ending may not please fans weaned on happy Hollywood finales, it's a fitting and believable close to a thought-provoking film. --Jae-Ha Kim

Product Description

Ryan Gosling (The Ides of March, Drive, Blue Valentine) turns in a stunning, Oscar-nominated performance in the smart, moving and politically engaged HALF NELSON, one of the most exciting American films of recent years. With stellar support from Independent Spirit Award winner Shareeka Epps in her feature debut and Anthony Mackie (The Hurt Locker, Million Dollar Baby), and an original score that features Canadian rock group Broken Social Scene, director Ryan Fleck (Sugar, It's Kind of a Funny Story) weaves together a moving story of redemption in an unforgiving world. Dan Dunne (Gosling) is an inner city high school teacher. Dynamic and inspirational in the classroom, he spends his time outside of school on the edge of consciousness. His personal disappointments and disillusionment have led to a serious drug habit. Dan juggles his hangovers and his homework, keeping his lives separated, until one of his students, Drey (Shareeka Epps), catches him getting high after school. It is from this pivotal moment that director Ryan Fleck builds a tentative friendship between these two unlikely allies, creating one of the decade's most arresting films in the process.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Half Nelson 22 July 2007
Half Nelson tells the story of an idealistic young teacher Dan, unable to break his cycle of cocaine and crack abuse. Labouring under the delusion that he will finish an illustrated children's book on 'dialectics', he teaches history at a run-down innercity school. Bringing left-wing theory into his lessons on the civil rights movement, his classes comprise predominately black teenagers from a poor suburb. When he has the sobreity to give them, that is; throughout the film he is increasingly unable to function with any kind of clarity.

Early in the film he is found in a locker room cubicle high on crack by one of his students Drey, and a tacit understanding is reached between them. She, whose brother has been incarcerated from involvement in the drug trade, can see how crack is devestating her community, but is still allured by the success of 'Frank', a drug dealing "family friend". Frank gradually enrolls her in his business; drugs providing her with a potential but probably ephemeral means of escape from the squalor of her broken home. For Dan, the escape is from the burden of completing his book, and from turning his political ideals into affirmative action. His inertia and drug-addled stupour are shown in contrast to footage of highly impassioned speeches from the civil rights movement, calling on people to throw themselves down on the machinery of the system to grind it to a halt. Decades after the civil rights movement, many people in the black community are still caught up in the prison system, or denied opportunities to further themselves socially; but Dan is increasingly aware how little he can do about it. His classes on the dialectics of change through opposition, start to sound hollow when there is so little hope for his students.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best films of the decade 5 Feb 2008
Ryan Gosling is exceptional in his role as a teacher at a comprehensive school and gives off raw emotion that at times is not only difficult for the character but the audience watching. He is superb and is an actor to watch for the long-term future.
Despite Gosling's inability to relate to the people that try and get on with him who are not directly involved in his life, he comes across as a simple but effective man but with hidden side-issues on what kind of world he is living in. He gets through any emotive negative within him by being truthful to himself and witty with others.
The film flows smoothly and without any preudice towards generic charachters and the music is unique and fitting. All the supporting players do a great job especially the drug-pimp(probably the nicest dealer portrayed in films) but theres the point of the film, do not take people on face-value or even the things they do to make money or get-by because there is a deeper meaning to what these characters are trying to achieve.
A film i could relate to and i especially like the scene where Gosling gets asked by his 'over-night guest' in the morning "Why do you have a copy of the mien kampf?" and he answers with a slightly cold but reasonable answer of "Just because i have a copy of that book, it doesnt make me a nazi". Theres something odd yet distinctive about the way he looks at life and the surprises with in his own. Its not till the end that Gosling's character realises its time to believe in not just his own thoughts but of those around him...and more importantly kick the habit..because although its an easy to get into and difficult slippery slide to hide your irresponsibilty, its a route that must be declined!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Drama 2 Mar 2008
By R. Mullaney VINE VOICE
Ryan Gosling plays Mr. Dunne, a history teacher at an American inner city high school. In the classroom he is thought provoking and popular with his students. In his private life he is depressed and unfulfilled and uses crack cocaine to dull his disappointment with his life. When a girl from his class, Dree (Shareeka Epps) catches him getting high after school one night, they form an unlikely friendship.

This may sound like another Dangerous Minds with all the usual cliches of a white teacher trying to be a good role model to disaffected black kids but Half Nelson is much more. For a start, his class clearly like and respect him, unaware of his personal battle with drugs. Although Dree needs him to replace her deadbeat dad and incarcerated brother, he also needs her to give him purpose. As he becomes close to the child he tries his best to steer her away from the drug dealing friend who seems determined to look after Dree whilst her brother is in prison. Mr Dunne wants her to stay away from drugs but can't cope without them himself. Gosling and Epps turn in wonderful performances in this intelligent and poignant drama.

Like this? Try: A Room For Romeo Brass
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Dark and interesting 4 Oct 2007
I bought this on the basis of a good magazine review, and i wasn't disappointed. It takes a bit of getting into at first as the style of filming is a bit bizarre and things keep coming in and out of focus; but Ryan Gosling is fantastic as he draws you in and leaves you wanting more. Half Nelson is dark and sad and you find yourself just hoping Drey and Dan can sort their lives out. The ending is kind of up in the air but it doesn't leave you in despair so that's gotta be good! Gosling deserved that Oscar nomination for his superb performance and i for one will definitely be watching this again.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars NO Subtitles for Deaf/HOH
This might have been a good film, I'm not really sure, as no subtiles for deaf/hard of hearing were provided, bizaare for a modern film. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Miss Chinaski
5.0 out of 5 stars Deep film with a great story......
This is where Ryan does his best acting, he doesn't need to shout or over act to be brilliant, its in his soft approach to the role and just doing the smallest of things that bring... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Mr. A C
5.0 out of 5 stars Insightful documentary style film
The story of a close relationship between a teacher and a young girl and how each helps the other to survive events in their day to day lives.
Published 5 months ago by Tracey Leeson
4.0 out of 5 stars One of Ryan Gosling's best performances
Ryan Gosling once again gave a performance worthy of his Oscar nomination in 'Half Nelson'. This intense and sensitive drama centres around the private unhappiness within the life... Read more
Published 7 months ago by ReviewBlog51
5.0 out of 5 stars Great
Great and loved it thank you very much very pleased I will tell all my friends about it now t
Published 12 months ago by bettyboop1
4.0 out of 5 stars Present
I never actually watched this film, as it was a present for a friend. However he has seen it before and said it was very, very enjoyable. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Ruth Leslie
4.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant Gosling
As always gosling delivers a superb performance. I liked the movie overall but felt it was very slow at times.
Published 14 months ago by Cristina
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Movie
Great movie enjoyed every minute of it the acting was superb storyline great what more could you want from a movie.
Published 14 months ago by p Thompson
4.0 out of 5 stars Heavy going.
The acting is superb and the film is good, the story is very meaningful about how life can be, the lives of people working with the cards they have been dealt in life, what they... Read more
Published 15 months ago by LizWx
5.0 out of 5 stars You couldn't wrestle me away from this one.
Good DVD, no problems there, and the movie is a quitely complex and up lifting movie. Great performances that conveys the thin line between destruction and success.
Published 15 months ago by Mabel
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